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Canada to deliver host of initiatives to UN peacekeeping conference including $15M trust fund

Canada to deliver host of initiatives to UN peacekeeping conference including $15M trust fund
From CBC - November 14, 2017

Canada will announce a series of initiatives on Wednesday aimed at deliveringa "more coherent" approach by the United Nations for the involvement of women in peacekeepingoperations and the resolution of conflicts in troubled nations, CBC News has learned.

The package will be unveiled at an international meeting of defence ministers in Vancouver and is meant to address shortcoming in the UN's long-stated desire to see female soldiers, police officers and community leaders at the forefront.

The announcement could overshadow the absence of a firm commitment by Canada,in the near term,to a specific peacekeeping mission, as the Liberal government intends to pledge only what it can offer in terms of military hardware.

Among other things, sources tell CBC News that Wednesday's plan will propose the establishment of a trust fund worth approximately $15 millionfrom which troop-contributing countries can draw in order to increase the number of women soldiers and police officers within their ranks and deliver better training for those already in uniform.

The UN is already doing some of those things on a less systematic basis.

"Even if Canada would be amazing enough to deploy hundreds and hundreds of women, that would not move the needle," said one source.

"When you look at the big troop-contributing countriesEthiopia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, who contribute over 7,000 troops it's only when you work with everyone else that you are going to change the conditions of the mission."

Female-only training programs

Other nations will be asked to contribute to the fund "on a voluntary basis," according to government sources with knowledge of the file, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the diplomatic sensitivity of the subject.

They emphasized, however, that the Liberal government's plan is broader in terms of funding and desire to see women take on a central role.

"There are a number of pieces of the pie that will receive money," said onesource. "There are a number of funding envelopes related to this."

There will be other specific "female-only" training programs.

It is unclear what other initiatives might be, but the UN has talked about policy options such as a so-called gender-balance premium, which would involve paying troop-contributing countries more if they send a high percentage of women on peace missions.

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